Wednesday, March 28, 2007

For the Love of Three Greens - Pasta with Parsley, Capers and Olives

It is a little early here in New York, too early for spring, though the calendar says March 28. Yesterday’s 72 degrees took down the last of the filthy snow piles, crusted at the curbsides. But still no green yet, no peak of leaf tipping gnarled branches, so paralyzed and parched they pretend they are dead. It will all happen very suddenly while I am asleep, but I am twitching with anticipation. There are tastes of herb, brine and wine I am collecting for a quick spill across a bowl of capellini. In Liguria they make a sauce where parsley, not the beloved basil, is king. My recipe is a nod to theirs, but with the speed and agility of not having to grind it into a pesto. I will try the classic pesto version someday, but right now, I am too impatient for spring.

This post is being submitted to the Weekend Herb Blogging event hosted by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen.

Pasta* with Parsley, Capers and Olives


4 cups Italian flat-leaf parsley plucked from their stems, washed and dried
3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon olive oil
3 rounded tablespoons capers, drained
6 green olives sliced into rings, no pimento
4 tablespoons white wine
Ground black pepper
Shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

½ pound angel hair pasta or
* 1 medium-sized spaghetti squash for those limiting their carbohydrates


For the pasta:
Bring to boil a large pot of water with teaspoon of olive oil.

For the sauce:
In a large skillet over low heat, cook parsley in olive oil until the leaves start to wilt. Add the wine and capers, stirring to just mix. Turn off heat and let stand while you tend to adding the pasta to the boiling water and cooking it to your prefered tenderness.

Drain pasta and divide into two bowls. Top with green sauce and a scattering of sliced olives. Finish with a crank of black pepper and a few shavings of cheese.

Serves two. --


  1. This sounds very good to me. I think the version of making it into pesto would also be delicious. I love the flavors of parsley, capers, and green olives. Nice idea for the spagetti squash option! You can also use Dreamfields pasta for low carb, which I think tastes just like regular pasta.

  2. Thanks! I'll try the Dreamfields pasta. I'm not a strictly low-carb eater, but sometimes I just feel bloated on too many starches and need a break.

  3. Parsley is so underutilized as a main ingredient. Other than tabbouli, it's really never the star of the show as it is in your recipe. Thanks for reminding us that parsley -- so abundant in the herb garden later in the summer -- is worthy of a starring role!

  4. You are right, Lydia. Parsley is terribly neglected for the culinary prize it is. Outside of tabbouli, I can only think of chimichurri. It's also one of the few greens that has real staying power, maintaining its freshness long after it's been pulled from the soil. We've been eating off one bunch that is as vibrant and blemish-free as the day I bought it.

  5. I love parsley and I like the green of your dish. I used to cook with colours sometimes, so I´ll save this to try. :)

  6. Hello susan,
    we tried your recipe stright away. It tasted great!!! And I want to recommend it as an in-between after an outstanding starter and a subtile main course. It will definitely be a dish in my kitchen. :))

  7. Helene,
    I'm so happy you enjoyed the dish. It's one of the fastest, easiest meals I've ever prepared. I love parsley, too. It's a shame it gets relegated too often for use as just a garnish. Your idea of an in-between course is an excellent one.